GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - The 50th Bassmasters Classic kicked off in Guntersville early Friday morning. 53 anglers took to Lake Guntersville from Civitan Park with a top prize of $300,000 dollars on the line.
“The stress, the pressure, that’s what you live for. You don’t know what’s going to happen, and it’s a crazy rush,” said pro angler Trait Zaldain.
The anglers competing in the 2020 event needed to adjust for the changing weather conditions.
“There’s a million things in the guy’s mind right now…the sun and the wind we got today. Make the guys have an open mind,” said pro angler Brandon Palaniuk.
Despite the cold, windy weather, Palaniuk told WHNT News 19 the fish will be biting.
“Anybody that can find protected water is going to be able to catch them and there’s a lot of pre-spawn fish that this wind is going to help make those fish bite,” said Palaniuk.
Palaniuk has competed in nine Bassmaster Classics, but this year, he is a spectator.
“It’s the biggest event in the sport of fishing, that’s why there are people here from all over the world baring the wind and the cold. Nothing stops these people,” said Palaniuk.
He competed in the event when it was last held in Guntersville in 2014.
Bass fishing lovers traveled from hundreds of miles just to see them take-off Friday in Guntersville.
“A little chilly but it was really exciting seeing the boats take off. It was really nice the way they had everything set up and plenty of parking,” said West Virginia resident Daniel Abram.
“It’s pretty exciting. You see a lot of them on tv. You never really get to meet them up close. They just an average guy like we are, so pretty interesting,” said Virginia resident Frank Dalton, Jr.
At the end of each day, the anglers must pick their five heaviest bass to weigh in.
The Bassmaster Classic Expo runs at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center throughout the three-day event.